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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  February 27, 2013 1:00pm-4:00pm PST

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wolf blitzer starts now. wolf? >> truth behind the numbers. why will cutting $85 billion out of more than $3 trillion in spending, almost $4 trillion cripple the government and the economy? we're also looking into why president obama was completely unaware, supposedly, that several hundred illegal immigrants already have been freed because of the forced spending cuts? and i'll ask new york city mayor's michael bloomberg if he'll run for president in 2016. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> let's begin today with the rally on wall street. major gains that can affect your retirement savings and more. dow jones industrials completely erased a steep drop earlier in the week. let's go live to felicia taylor
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in new york. what happened, felicia? >> ben bernanke in his testimony in washington basically saying that we are going to see quantitative easing through 2016. that's what the market is focused on. yes, we've got better than expected numbers on manufacturing and home sales but when they heard that ben bernanke still believes we aren't going to see unemployment drop to 6.5% until 2016, that means stimulus measures are going to be in place and that's what wall street wants to hear. wo wolf? >> the 14,060, the market had collapsed in 2009, as all of us know, because of the housing crisis. it was down at one point well below 7,000, approaching 6500 and now it's more than doubled. it's a pretty dramatic comeback. >> absolutely. no question about it. frankly, the looming deadline of sequestration isn't even enough to bother wall street right now.
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they are on a tear and the bulls are definitely in command. the belief, though, is that this won't actually last that long. there's going to be a sustained rally. but we could see some of these bulls pulling out because we've got also today something called window dressing and that's what happens at the end of the month, where people add into their portfolio because it looks better to be holding stocks. one of those things that people are not holding right now is apple. what we didn't get to hear from them is what we thought, a two for one split. so apple share is down 3%. >> a cautionary note to our viewers, felicia, it was 14,500 back in 200 p and then in 2008, early 2009 t. collapsed to 6500. just because it's at a record high doesn't necessarily mean it's absolutely going to be that high six months from now or a year from now. this is a very volatile potential situation. >> and you've got to remember, there's not as much volume.
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volume numbers have been very, very low. we also saw the volatility index spike by 30%. when you've got these big swings like that, you've got to be careful in this kind of marketplace because people do kwea kweant state tif trading. that's what makes it so volatile. >> we'll see what happens tomorrow and the days to come. felicia taylor at the cnn money desk, thank you. this just coming in to the situation room. word of a resignation because the federal government started releasing illegal immigrants to save money because of the upcoming forced budget cuts. there's a lot of outrage and indeed around the country because several hundred deta detainees who had been held in jail have been freed already, even though the cuts don't even take affect for two days. jessica yellin is here.
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the president didn't know anything about this. that's what they are saying at the white house, that the president was totally in the dark. he was just as surprised by all of us that they started releasing hundreds of detained illegal immigrants. >> that's right, wolf. their point, that's how it works. it happens at the agency level and not the white house level. gary mead, the head of the enforcement and removal operations, big title. bottom line is, he's part of the operation that helps decide who is let go and who stays at the immigration's department is leaving his job. is he leaving his job and this news comes just a day after we learned that hundreds of undocumented immigrants were released yesterday as part of this decision to prepare for coming budget cuts. now, administration officials tell me that decision was made by career officials, the
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decision to let them go, at the immigration service. the white house and department of homeland security headquarters didn't even know that decision was coming. in fact, they found out from the same press release that came from an advocacy group that notified the rest of us in the media. so again, a big surprise to the white house. >> when you say this official is leaving his job, was he fired? was he told to go? did he decide to resign because of the huge embarrassment? >> well, i cording to the department of homeland security, no. it was not a firing. what they say is this was a planned retirement and i'm going to quote here, gary mead announced that he planned to retire after 40 years in federal service and six years at i.c.e., that he told his staff weeks ago. that's what they say. wolf, we've got to point out the coincidence of timing. yesterday we found out that hundreds of three detainees, criminals with just misdemeanor charges, not violent criminals, they were being released.
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big embarrassment to some officials. today we find out that he is retiring. you've got to scratch your head and wonder if this had is just a coincidence. >> janet napolitano oversees this department. did she know this was going on? >> no, she did not know that she's cuts were coming yesterday. >> so she was as surprised as the president was? >> she was as surprised as the president was. again, i should say this is how it's supposed to work, they tell me. that this is a decision that's made at the more sunier level and because budget cuts are coming and they have to prepare for these budget cuts. that's sort of the process when your money supply is shrinking. >> thanks very much, jessica yellin. we'll see what happens. i suspect there's going to be a lot of fallout and a lot of people are going to be skeptical. we'll see. appreciate it very much. we're now only two days away from those forced spending cuts. just about everyone here in washington would like to avoid but nobody seems willing or able
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to take the certain steps necessary to stop them. president obama and congressional leaders aren't planning to talk about it until friday but they briefly got together today when everybody was backstage for an unveiling of a statue on capitol hill. dana bash is watching what's going on. update our viewers. this is an ugly situation. >> reporter: to say the least. it was kind of a confluence of events that put the president together with the house speaker and other leaders, an event that happened right behind me. they were sort of forced together. what happened is, according to harry reid, there was a huddle but jake tapper was told that the lawmakers were told to, quote, talk solutions. that certainly would be a change. >> the president, republican and democratic leaders coming together to unveil civil rights
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icon rosa parks, all pulling in the same direction. the partisan tug-of-war over. >> mr. president, you honor us with your presence. thank you for being here. >> reporter: but this bipartisan moment was just that. a moment. here's the senate leaders going at it just 45 minutes earlier. >> he wasn't elected to work with the congress he want. he was elected to work with a congress he had. >> republicans are too busy fighting among themselves to unite behind a course so they are instead doing nothing. zero. >> reporter: the president did ask congressional leaders to the white house to discuss forced spending cuts for their first face-to-face meeting that republicans call devastating. but the invitation is for friday, the same day those cuts kick in. democrats came to the president's defense. why wait so long? >> well, look, it is entirely within the purview of congress to pass legislation and send it to the president. so actually the real question is, why isn't john boehner
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reaching out to harry read, sitting down with nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell and hammering out a compromise. >> reporter: but aides wasted no time. one asked why the president planned the meeting on friday when the sequester hits on thursday? either someone needs to buy the white house a calendar or this is just a delated far belated farce. >> the discussion begins midnight on march 1st. >> it happenses before. >> it happens before because it happens at midnight. it begins midnight march 1st. >> that prompted this tweet from a speaker spokesman. white house waits until sequester arrives to call a meeting ten months after house passed a plan and then talks about whether cuts happen at midnight. here's theeal deal.
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the president has until the end of the day friday to sign an order for the forced cuts. so it turns out everyone agrees on the timing but the fact that they fought about it speaks volumes. meanwhile, preparations are already under way here in congress for those forced cuts. the house speaker told lawmakers today that they will no longer be able to use military aircrafts for fact-finding missions that they go on. this is a way for john boehner to try to make sure that his members don't go on effectively some junk kets while his constituents are being hurt. there may be a way to tweak the president for using his military aircraft, air force one, for trips like yesterday to virginia to hit republicans. agriculture secretary, tom
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vilsack, will join me in "the situation room." we all assume the forced budget cuts will go through. i'll speak to him in 20 minutes. now to the very historic events in rome at the vatican. take a look at the crowd that came to say good-bye to the pope. it's estimated that 150,000 people packed into the square. that's at least three times the number of tickets that they gave out. the pope who retires tomorrow says that the past eight years contains many days of sunshine and also, these are his words, times when the water was rough and the lord seemed to sleep. >> i've continued with prayers and ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope. >> our chief correspondent is joining us in rome with more. this will be an historic moment when all of this ends for pope
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benedict xvi. >> reporter: wolf, you're right. it was emotional for his devotees as he made his final appearance. st. peter's square behind me was packed and the pope came out in his popemobile and there were a lot of waves and st. peter's is behind me and the vatican is where this pope is spending his last night on the throne as pope. tomorrow he will say good-bye to cardinals and then at 5:00 p.m. local time here in rome he leaves the vatican and goes to castel gandolfo. people want there to be some
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distance between him and the conclave to elect the next pope. the empty seats set in and this interim period before a new pope is chosen. >> there will be an interim pope, acting pope? walk us through that between that and the time that a new pope is elected. >> not really. not formally in that name. there's secretary of state, heads of all of these very different bureaucracies here at the vatican. but is iiss as we know this is leader of the world's 1.2
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billion catholics. as we know, the pope is more than just a religious leader. he's virtually a states man by virtue of the importance of the world that confers upon him and what he does, what he says, who the new pope will be will matter not just to catholics but to people all over the world. all the good of the catholic church and all of the bad and challenges of the catholic church are in play as we go forward. and of course there's this unfinished business of settling these priest sex abuse cases and finally coming to a full accountability and getting beyond that so the catholic church can continue without what the pope referred to as these choppy waters, the ship of state flew against the wind and he said god cannot let the catholic church sink. wolf? >> christiane amanpour, we will check back with you tomorrow. thank you. new york mayor michael
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bloomberg joins me. he's telling me why he's pushing for gun control. and today is the first day on the job for the new defense secretary chuck hagel. he started it off by surprising his staff. that's coming up as well. oh, hi thehey!ill. are you in town for another meeting? yup, i brought my a-team. siness trips add to family time. this is my family. this is joe. hi joe! hi there! earn a ton of extra points with the double your hhonors promotion and feel the hamptonality. did you know not all fiber is the same? citrucel is different- it's the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today.
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and then treats day after day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. gun restrictions are on a back burner as victims of newtown, connecticut, pleaded for a ban on automatic weapons. >> i gave him a hug and a kiss and said good-bye, i love you. he stopped and said, i love mom, too. that was the last i saw of jesse as he ducked around the corner. prior to that, when he was getting out of the truck, he hugged me and held me. i can still feel that hug and
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the pat on the back. he said, everything's going to be okay, dad. it's all going to be okay. and it wasn't okay. i have to go home at night to an empty house, not my son. something that should never have happened at an elementary school. people argue about the second amendment. well, the second amendment says well-regulated militia, to bear arms, safe and freedom of state. it hasn't been well regulated. >> our heart goes out to that father and all of the families of those killed senselessly in
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newtown being connecticut. the new york city mayor, michael bloomberg s. taking a very, very actively role in this gun control fight. he spent millions of dollars to help a candidate win in illinois. she won the race last night. i spoke to michael bloomberg earlier when we met up on capitol hill. >> why did you decide to come to washington? >> well, yesterday in illinois the public had a chance to learn all the facts about who stood for what in terms of enforcing gun laws that are on the books and keeping people safe. and they spoke and the results were exactly what the polls had said they would be. 90% of the people in this country want responsible gun laws and i'm down here to try to explain to others that this is a
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great victory for the public. it's a great victory for our kids who have been getting murdered on the streets and they have been getting murdered on the streets in urban and rural and suburban areas. >> and you were ready to put your money where your mouth is? >> the nra has had the field to itself in talking about guns and it's time for a balanced approach so the public can get the information and then we'll let the public decide. >> that win at chicago, did it underscore that in order to fight the nra you've really got to come up with a lot of money? is is that the lesson you learned? >> no, but i think it's a harbinger. it's the people that show up at the polls. >> money doesn't hurt. >> well, it does. it takes something to get information out. media costs money. cnn charges for advertising. but it's -- this is really a chance for the public to just get the facts. >> so your message to the nra right now is -- >> well, i don't have a message
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for the nra. i have a message for people that if they want to be heard, if they want to make this country safer for themselves and their kids, you've got to go to the polls and you've got to express yourself and vote for people who want sensible gun rules, sensible interpretation of the second amendment, protect the second amendment but also to make sure that people who are minors, who have criminal records or substance abuse problems or mental illness don't get their hands on guns and it's particularly poignant when you think about every year in america, 12,000 people every year get murdered with handguns. per capita the same as the rural areas as the urban areas. but something more tragic, something like 19,000 suicides with hand guns every year, every parent's worst nightmare. we've got to make it harder to get guns. in new york city, our suicide
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rate is half the national average because our rate of guns is half the national average. if you make it somewhat harder to get agains, people don't kill themselves. the most important thing here is making people understand. they will, from watching your program and you explaining what happened in illinois and the fact that the people have spoken, i think that will have as much impact as anybody else will have. >> in watching congress for a long time, i think you and your side have an excellent chance to expand the background checks, maybe a chance on the magazines. not much of a chance on assault weapons bans. here's the question, are you ready to see all of these individual components split up into separate pieces of legislation or is it all in one big package? >> well, i would be in favor of all of those things. i thought there was a number of military people that talk about assault weapons saying these are instruments of war, they don't
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belong on our streets. they certainly don't keep you safe. if anything, they increase the danger. they will get into the wrong hands and you will be the victim. same thing with high-capacity magazines. you don't need them for sport or hunting. what we need to do is pass these and if they can be done as one package or individually, as long as they get done, this country will be a lot better off. >> let's continue a walk continue the conversation, the spending cuts that are about to take place, have you looked, assuming they will take place midnight friday, and i believe they will, how that will impact the city of new york? >> yes. there are federal programs that will get cut back. keep in mind, sequestering was put in place by both the democrats and the republicans. they all thought it was a good idea and unfortunately it's one of these things they created something that's so untenable that nobody can use it. it's almost like weapons of mass
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destruction, nuclear mom you can't use because it's so powerful. you can see some of the letting people out of jail. you can see an employer saying i'm going to lay you off. but if will take some time before it really has a dramatic impact and i think during that time sensible people will come together and they will say, look, there's got to be a better way of doing this. >> this is a dumb way of doing it. >> well, you tell me a good way of doing it. >> the republicans are saying, mr. president, we want to cut 85 billion. these across the board are stupid. come up with 85 billion in waste, fraud, abuse, stupid idea --
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>> the thing is there's not $58 billion in waste, fraud -- >> you can't trim $85 billion. >> it's a diminimous oh amount of money and you shouldn't be wasting your time. >> it's $4 trillion. >> that's right. we have to decide to do less with -- to do more with less or to do less with less and we've got to pick things. everybody's going to say not my program, your program. if you looked at simpson/bowles, i think -- well, i've always been in favor of adopting what it has in there. many of the same things that -- perhaps they should have but it wouldn't have been that much zinks $4 trillion in cuts. >> but we have come to depend and expect services and we haven't yet understood we're going to have to pay for them or we can't have them. we need leadership to stand up and say, i'm sorry. there's no free lunch here. >> have you decided what you're going to do after you leave office? >> in 307 offices from now? i have not. >> who's counting? >> well, we have a countdown
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clock that says, make everything count. my first concern is to get people jobs who have been loyal and then i'll worry about it. >> you haven't endorsed anybody for your -- >> no. >> do you think you will? >> we'll see. >> is it possible? >> yeah, it's possible. >> have you done any thinking about 2016? >> no. 2016 is three years from now. i will be 74 years old. >> but you look great. >> well, thank you very much. it's tougher to get up in the morning, as you know, as you get older. >> do you exercise? >> every day. >> you do? >> pretty much every day. >> i do, too. good luck. thanks very much. and in just a minute i'll speak live with the secretary of agriculture, tom vilsack, and i'll ask him why he can't find other things to cut besides meat inspector food for poor people. tom vilsack from the new york
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i'm going to circle back now to the forced spending cuts that will occur in two days and how it will affect people. the department of agriculture, 100 thourk people and 2013 budget calls for $155 billion in spending. it's being forced to cut $2 billion out of that. some meat inspectors, programs
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to feed low-income families, they are poe technically all on the chopping block and would have huge ramifications for some of the folks out there. republican lawmakers are asking why can't the cuts come from targeting other programs, including farm subsidy for milli millionaire farmers, for example. tom vilsack is joining me. >> hi, wolf. >> why not eliminate the huge subsidies for the wealthy farmers instead of food for poor people? >> well, the way the budget control act was organized, we don't have are the option to do that. it's subject to the same amount of cut, same percentage cut. indeed, farm subsidies may get cut at the same percentage as the food safety budget gets cut
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and unfortunately it's mostly people and i've heard also members of congress complain that there's travel that could be cut or supplies that could be cut. we've already done that, wolf. we can show you somewhere between 700 and $1 billion worth of cuts that we've already absorbed or had savings in in a variety of areas. we don't have 100,000 workforce working for us. we're down by 8% and it's about budget less than it was in 2009. >> so phil graham, i don't know if you saw his article in "the wall street journal" today. said, instead of protecting children from cuts in nutrition programs, the president will continue to allow $2.7 billion in fraud and mismanagement he has identified in the food stamp program. can't you eliminate that $2.7 billion of what is described by the president as fraud and mismanagement?
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>> wolf, that fraud rate is roughly 1%. it's the lowest fraud rate in the history of the program. it has declined every single year that the president has been in office. we have enforced a new alert system. we are doing a much better job of doing investigations. last year we did over 800,000 individual investigations and several thousand investigations of community stores and grocery stores. 40,000 some people were disqualified for the program and that is happening. we're continuing to reduce that rate as we speak. but this is a situation where it's not about being able to focus on a particular area. every line item of the budget is required to be cut. there's no wriggle room, especially in food safety. because most of what food safety is is people. and most of the people are the people that inspect your meat and processed eggs. when they walk off the floor because they have to be
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furloughed, they essentially will shut down the entire production facility. >> you raised the issue of s.n.a.p. what does that stand for? >> supplemental nutritional assistance program and it's exempted by congress from the sequester. the $150 billion budget, it's actually substantially less than that, a good portion is exempt. >> that's food stamps, in other words, right? >> that's correct. >> i raise the issue of s.n.a.p., because john boehner, among others, have pointed out that there's a program, a lot of people don't know this, billion dollars of giving free cell phone service to poor people who qualify for the s.n.a.p. program. boehner wrote in the "wall street journal" the other day, no one should be talking about raising taxes when the government is still giving folks free cell phones. i know this is not a directly administered by the department of agriculture it, but what do you think of his complaint?
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>> well, wolf, i think that's done -- if i'm not mistaken, that's an fcc issue and i don't know the details of that but i can tell you this and tell the speaker this, we have engaged in the last couple of years focusing on ways in which we can save resources. and we've condensed the cell phone contracts and saved billions of dollars. we've reduced landlines and travel and conference we've actually closed 250 offices and labs around the country. much to the concern and krit sichl by congress when we did that. so we have already taken the difficult steps and we'll continue to do that. but the way that the sequester is structured, it's not a smart way to reduce the budget. it just isn't the right way to reduce the budget and hopefully
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over the next couple of days, cooler minds will prevail and we'll avoid this unfortunate circumstance. >> we can only hope. what about this proposal from some republicans. they say, you ought to cut $85 billion, half domestic spending, half defense spending. this is a stupid way of doing it across the board. we're going to give you the flexibility so you don't have to cut meat inspectors, you don't have to cut food for poor people, you can go ahead and do it in a smarter way. the white house saying, not so fast. they are not interested in getting this flexibility. here's a question to you as the secretary of agriculture. why? >> well, first of all, i'm not sure that all republicans are united in that concept but just assume for the sake of discussion that they are. that deals with the micro problem. the macro problem is the economy at large. when you combine that with the payroll tax deduction that went into effect at the first of the year, you're taking $250 billion out of the economy, which is absolutely going to affect gross
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don domestic product. when that happens, you're affecting the jobs. in my circumstance, with the food safety issue, when those inspectors walk off the floor, there is as many as a quarter of a million folks who are impacted by that decision. you've got to look at the macro and micro aspect of this. the president has put a balance of revenue and reductions over a long period of time and he's open to a discussion of entitlement reform. that's a pretty good deal and folks in congress ought to take him up on that deal. >> mr. secretary, thank you. i know you're deeply worried yourself. let's hope they come up with sort of resolution in the next 48 hours. i'm worried that they won't but let's see what happens. much more news coming up. jesse jackson is here in "the situation room." we've got a lot to discuss with him. stand by. my interview with jesse jackson
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let's get back to the breaking news that we were follow at the top of the hour. lisa sylvester has the final closing number on wall street. what else is going on? >> wolf, what a rally that we saw on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 175 points,
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rising more than 1% to close at a new five-year high. the nasdaq and s&p 500 roared up. seems ben bernanke's testimony on capitol hill that the federal's effort to stimulate the economy will continue. yahoo! is firing back at criticism of its decision to ban employees from working at home. some say the new policy will be bad for morale but in a statement, a yahoo! spokesman responded saying, this isn't a broad industry view on working from home. this is about what is right for yahoo! right now. to become the best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important so we need to be working side by side, end quote. a key part of the voting rights act could be in danger. the supreme court heard provisions on the area of discrimination to get federal permission before making any voting law changes. officials say that is too
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burdensome asking why some are subject to oversight and not others. a ruling is expected in june. and britain's prince harry is showing off his moves. check it out. it's all for a good cause. it's a school for blind and deaf children. we're going to watch him right there. he took part in a traditional dance with some of the children. he also tried baking a interest additional bread and learned a few words in sign languages. the prince's charity is helping fund the school. i think the kids are doing it much better. >> he's learning. he's new at that dance. >> that's right. >> maybe there's other dances -- >> the best part of all is it looks like he's having a really good time. >> love it. thank you. chuck hagel takes over the helm at the pentagon. first day at the job he is shaking up his schedule.
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it's the first day on the job for the defense secretary chuck hagel following a bruising nomination fight. another fight may lie straight ahead. the military facing millions of dollars in looming cuts. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has the details. >> chuck hagel survived a tough confirmation on capitol hill. overseeing $46 billion in looming spending cuts is is next. soon after arriving at the pentagon and being sworn in to office, defense secretary chuck hagel had his first surprise for
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his staff. he did something not on the official schedule. hagel stopped to pay his respects at the pentagon's 9/11 memorial. then, handshakes and waiting to be introduced to hundreds of pentagon employee. hagel's most immediate challenge, $46 billion in mandatory spending cuts that now appears unavoidable. >> budget, sequestration, i don't need to dwell on all of the good news there. that's a reality. we need to figure this out. >> hagel's joints chief of staff already grim at the prospect. >> by the beginning of next year, more than 50% of my tactical units will be below readien for deployment to combat. >> hagel remains true to his position on the need to be ready for the use of american military power. >> we can't dictate to the world
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but we must engage in the world. we must lead with our allies. >> from the war in syria to the weapons program, for this vietnam war veteran introducing his top brass, a moment of g.i. humor. >> he makes me shake being an old army sergeant. >> what is still to come is the ultimate responsibility for any secretary of defense, signing deployment orders, possibly sending troops far away from home. wolf? >> barbara starr, thanks very much. the forced spending cuts only represent a fraction of the spending cuts. why is a relatively small cut threatening to cripple so much of the federal government?
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the u.s. government is spending about $3.8 trillion this year but if there's no deal by friday night, agencies will have to cut a fraction of that, about $85 billion clarz. so our big question is that, why would that amount have an impact in the overall economy. tom foreman is analyzing that. have you figured it out, tom? >> when you look at the $3.8 trillion, all these different programs out here, if you've cut out this amount down here, 85 billion, how can can that little slice of all this make a difference? one of the reasons it makes a difference, one of the reasons is because washington is not really looking at the whole budget and they haven't for a long, long time because what you have to consider is that all of the entitlement programs are out of the equation and these
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programs are bigger than all of the other programs. we aren't really cutting a whole budget. we're talking about putting these cuts in part of the budget. if you look at what has happened to entitlements, look at just defense spending. here's defense spending which is way up here at 50%. that's a percentage of the total budget, dropping down and dropping down. look what happened to entitlement and look what it has done as the baby boomers have grown older. up and up and up and now look how high it is. this line is not being addressed because politically, wolf, as you know, neither party really want to tangle with that issue. and so a lot of economists look at this and say, look, you can do what you want with these cut. they may be painful to a lot of people but in reality if you're trying to get at the deficit, we're going to have a hard time doing it. wolf? >> some comments out there, even suspect that cutting back 85
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billion over the next seven months could send us into a recession. is that possible? >> it's possible but i think there are enough economists who will say that that is wrong. look at the signs that indicate a recession. gdp is one of those. last quarter gdp went negative by a tiny sliver for the first time in three years. it's generally been moving up. it moved down a tiny bit. a lot of companies got rid are of inventory and with hurricane sandy. either way, you'd have to have another quarter of that. so we're going to call that sort of a neutral yellow warning about that. what about employment? employment has been slowly creeping up but slowly. so it's not a negative indicator that it's where it is now but it's certainly not positive either. housing has been better. we're going to call that green because that's doing better. what about the sequester? even if we call that red, here's the bottom line.
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yeah, there are a lot of scare tactics out there. a lot of talks about what is going on with the recession but many others haven't looked at this very carefully and they say, unless more of these factors really tie together, the sequester alone can't do that. it won't push us into a recession or at least it's very, very unlikely, despite all of these dire warnings. wolf? >> tom foreman, thanks very much. coming up, jesse jackson sr. coming up in "the situation room." we'll talk with him about a lot. t done as well. jackie, tell me why somebody should bring they're car here to the ford dealership for service instead of any one of those other places out there. they are going to take care of my car because this is where it came from. price is right no problem, they make you feel like you're a family. get a synthetic blend oil change, tire rotation and much more, $29.95 after $10.00 rebate. if you take care of your car your car will take care of you.
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shaq 1, pain 0. [ male announcer ] new icy hot advanced patch with 50% more medicine. pain over. you're in "the situation room." happening now, days before the forced spending cuts kick in, the government is already making cuts, releasing hundreds of immigration detainees. is that just a scare tactic or a sign of what's to come? jesse jackson breaking his silent, opening up in a very candid interview with me. that's in the next hour. and a century after the titanic sank, plans to build a replica of the luxury liner but with enough lifeboats on board. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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the clock is ticking towards the forced spending cuts that will rip through the federal government but one agency has already reacted releasing hundreds of illegal immigrant detainees. jim acosta has been looking into this. what have you found out, jim? >> reporter: wolf, they are asking questions and when pressed for answers white house officials say the idea didn't come from them. to prepare for those looming forced budget cuts, federal immigration authorities say they released what they are describing as several 100 detain e detainees.
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he was just sent on his way without any directions and without any monitoring. >> so they let you free and you still don't know what to do now? >> i don't know what to do. just wait for the mail to see what it is. >> reporter: the release is just the latest sign of the unintended consequences to come from the forced spending cuts that kick in as late as 11:59 prk m. eastern time friday night. lawmakers on capitol hill feel bli blindsided. >> it's a deliberate effort to try to pick high-profile ways to suggest that somehow instead of making the tough decisions about cutting spending, that they should force tax increases again on the american people. >> reporter: when asked whether the administration was notified ahead of time about the release, white house press secretary jay carney began reading from a prepared statement. >> are you confident that not one of these detainees is a threat to his or her community? >> this was a decision made by career officials at i.c.e.
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without any input by the white house. >> but homeland security janet napolitano dropped a major hint of the release when she stopped by the white housecan do. i'm supposed to have 34,000 detention beds for immigration. how do i pay for those? >> immigration authorities stressed that the detainees are those that they consider low risk and noncriminal and some but not all are being monitored. >> some will have to be brought back in? >> i'm afraid this is a conversation that i cannot help with you. >> an official who asked not to be named said some of the detainees will be on intensive supervision, such as ankle gps monitors while others will have weekly check-ins at an office. and he's been in the u.s. and he hopes to stay. for him, what washington calls
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sequestration may be his salvation. >> i would like to make a life here. >> reporter: a government official tells cnn that immigration authorities are aware at that timing of this release looks bad and runs counter to the conventional wis c wisdom has not been felt quite away and nobody really knows what the impacts of these cuts and the only thing that seems to be certain at this point is that the cuts seem to be coming. >> jim acosta, thank you. with the cuts looming, president obama had a close encounter with congressional leaders at today's unveiling of the rosa parks statue up on capitol hill. they will meet for real on friday. not tomorrow. but on friday, some are calling it d-day for the spending cuts. let's discuss what is going on with jessica yellin, our chief political analyst gloria borger and jake tapper. we've got a lot of chiefs here in "the situation room."
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what's going on? why friday, jessica? the deadline is friday night. >> i know. it seems very late. part of the thinking for democrats is that tomorrow the senate will take up and vote on a bill to avoid these spending cuts. republicans are expected to filibuster it and then the next day the president can go in and say to the republicans, guys, do you the republicans want to be accused of blocking the one or cut can a deal just hours before they will go into effect, sort of a high noon opportunity to get something done? unlikely to work but maybe the one last chance. >> gloria, nobody's looking good in this. >> right. >> the new abc washington post poll handling of the federal government, only 43% approve of the way the president is dealing with it. 52% disapprove. gof in congress, 26% approve and 67% disapprove. no real winners here. >> no.
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if you look at those numbers, what the white house is saying that the white house the public is more with the white house. >> not by much. >> not by much. and if you look at how the president is handling the economy, he's down 5 points. it's affecting the president one way or the other. at some point if these cuts go into effect and there's been a lot of hyperbole about what is going to happen at midnight. it's not going to help any of these people. >> certainly the white house and up on capitol hill. >> i think that's true. one of the things to follow up on is it contains a tax increase, the buffett rule, meaning if you make more than a billion dollars, at least 30% of your income has to go. >> even if the income was from investment stocks, whatever? >> exactly. one of the points you will likely hear is, the republicans support all of these spending
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cuts because they are trying to protect millionaires. an argument you've heard for a long, long time. in addition on friday, as the spending cuts take effect, the white house, i'm surmising is, is hoping that will put added pressure on the republicans and make them more willing to compromise. >> let's talk about chris christie for a moment. the very popular governor of new jersey. he's now accepting the obama care program, medicare, including republican governors he wasn't invited to the cpac, conservative political action convention that's about to take place. he said, it's not like i'm lacking for invitations. >> humility. >> tell the nation why venture one of these days. >> personally, and i know i'm going to get lots of e-mails about this, but who may speak at cpac is widely overrated. if you look at their straw
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polls, they haven't chosen a lot of presidential candidates. 2006, john allen, for example, and i could go on and on. so this really tells you a lot about what is going on inside the republican party. it tells you a little bit less about chris christie who's got a 74% approval rating. >> and it's part of who he is. he bucks the trend of the party. if he's a little bit of an outlier, that's okay for him. >> medicare is big in new jersey. that's a state that when it comes to how many tax dollars they send to washington, they don't have a good return on their investment. i think this is easily sold, this medicaid move. >> he's got 300,000 people with this. there is the reality. health care costs a lot. >> he's doing a right thing for the people of new jersey. >> but the conservative's problem with him was the disaster relief issue, that he came out defending his state
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saying we need this sandy relief money and criticized republicans in congress. >> the fact that he hugged the president a week before the election. >> yeah. >> he was facing his re-election. >> yes. >> quickly, jessica, tell us what is going on. the suggestion that this organization, an offshoot of the obama for president campaign is now telling some of its fat cat rich people if you either give us $500,000, you'll be able to meet with the president of the united states. that was reported in "the new york times" and "the washington post." >> this is definitely unseemly. it is not illegal. i would suspect that they will back off of it. what happened is that this organization, ofa, this outside group that helps push the president's message -- >> organizing for america? >> organizing for america. it's had three different names.
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they said give us $500,000 and we'll make sure you get four meetings with the president. they promised to ban lobbyists from the office, be the most transpare transparent in history. this runs counter to the president's brand. now that it's come out in full display, i am told by sources that this will not happen. the most the president will do now is possibly go to some group meetings with some donors. don't expect anything one on zun these are things left unsaid. >> remember the clinton coffees in the white house? >> yeah. we remember all of that. >> and this becomes more of a problem for this president because he was the one who came into office and said i'm going to be completely different. can't have lobbyists work for me. we're going to be untouched, purer than anybody else and so while he's not raising the money, people are getting a
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reward for giving the money. >> and that's the problem. it's not that what he's doing is any different than george w. bush, bill clinton, et cetera. it's that the barack obama of 2013 is not the barack obama of 2007. >> no. >> and if you haven't realized that by now, then i'm sorry to shatter that dream. >> all right. we'll see what happens on that front. guys, thank you very much. you're going to get a haircut? >> i have to get a haircut. >> i know you were supposed to get a haircut. >> thinking about that look. with a wolf blitzer beard. the combo. >> all right. maybe something could happen. >> i couldn't do it. it's patchy. >> all right, guys. thanks very much. up next, the secretary of state john kerry says syria's rebels need more help. and a deadly great white shark attack on a swimmer off of
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bloody fighting rages on in syria and secretary of state john kerry says the rebels need more help. the united states may be ready to follow through with what is being described as nonlethal military equipment. our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is traveling with the secretary and is joining us from rome. what's the latest, jill? >> reporter: wolf, this really is john kerry's first diplomatic test. a meeting with the syrian opposition here in rome as they are clamoring for more help. secretary of state john kerry has vowed not to lead leave the syri syrian opposition dangling in the wind.
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>> we want their advice of how to celebrate the process of political solution consider kery is scheduled to meet with the head of the syrian opposition coalition. he said the u.s. wants a political solution but to achieve that, it's time to change bashar al assad's calculation. >> he needs to know that he can't shoot his way out of this. and so we need to convince him of that and i think the opposition needs more help in order to be able to do that. >> reporter: the opposition almost boycotted the meeting. they want the west to give them military weapons. the obama administration won't go that far. >> we are constantly reviewing the nature of the assistance that we provide to both the syrian people in the form of humanitarian assistance and nonlethal assistance. >> reporter: kerry has been promising new steps.
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>> this moment is right for us to be considering what more we can do. >> reporter: according to administration officials, the white house is considering providing strategic military training and possibly lifting restricts on military equipment, like body armor and flat jackets that could help opposition fighters in combat. and kerry also says that the u.s. wants to help provide basic services to the syrian people. he says that extremist groups are already doing that and they are luring them towards extremism. >> jill dougherty, thank you for that report. safe travels. syria's opposition is a mixed bag. very different groups and i'd yolgs. the goals, at least for some of
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these groups shlg pretty different as well. let's bring in arwa damon she is joining us from london. you've been covering the struggle in syria since day one. as far as the rebels are concerned, if the u.s. were to provide them with arms, the key question is this. how do we know they would wind up in the right hands and wouldn't be used for nasty purposes, shall we say? >> well, wolf, that's really been the issue since the onset that the u.s. and other allies have been struggling with, how do they in fact ensure that these weapons are getting into the more mainstream modern elements, the free syrian army, and the reality is that in the last year, especially in the last few months, the more extremist elements have been gaining power. the fsa does are remain fairly fractured. some groups have been trying to organize themselves, realizing that they need to have an organizational structure in place that is going to be able to adequately deal with the distribution of aid coming in because they know that america
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and other nations are want to be able to ensure that these weapons, these eight are not reaching the most extremist elements which does have tie to al qaeda and in fact amongst its field commanders there are a fair number of syrian veterans in the war of iraq who a few years ago were members of al qaeda and fighting u.s. sources. the issue that jill touched upon in her report as swell that the longer this drags on, the longer we have a scenario where there isn't aid flowing in, that provides a group for the front to step in. they are the most credible, most powerful rebel fighting force and in fact when it comes to fighting those basic services to the people, most people trust them more than they do other groups because of their hard-lined ideology that is going to ensure that they are
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not going to plunder. this aid that they are talking about is not going to be a significant game-changer when it comes to the battlefield in syria. >> let's go to the battlefield for a few minutes. you spent about a month in iraq preparing for some reports to be released next month, the tenth anniversary of the removal of suddam hussein. i was in kuwait getting ready for that and you as well. i'm very worried about what's going on in iraq right now. the regime of prime minister al maliki as the troops get closer and closer to iran right now, letting weapons go from iran through iraq to syria. there's all sorts of conflict between the shia and the kurds in the north. they want their own enclave.
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how worrisome is it? >> it's devastating, wolf. when you look at what has been sacrificed. the iraqis who had hope throughout the worst of the violence have lost hope. they are ready to turn their back on their country at this point because of all of the various factors and realities. we have a nation that looks more towards iran than it does towards the west. we have a nation that is allowing weapons to cross its border, turning a blind eye, effectively, to the weapons moving from iran into the syrian battlefield. the sectarian tensions in iraq are threatening to boil over. the iraqi prime minister is being compared to a government that in its essence, in its very formation is fundamentally
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fraud, built upon blocks that have nothing to do with nationalism or wanting to better the nation but rather blocks based in a sectarian nature that continue to prevent the country from being able to move forward. iraq has, in fact, managed to significantly increase its oil production, its oil revenue but none of that is cycling back into the population. things like basic services, power. it's still only being provided for around two to six hours a day. and the iraqi population, wolf, having been through everything that they went through, having survived the violence, feel that they've emerged from this era of fierce death and destruction and they look around themselves and they don't really see a nation that they can truly recognize. many of them feel that they feel lost within their own country. iraq's future is most certainly not stable or secure at this moment and right now we're also hearing from the prime minister
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himself, other senior members within the iraqi government. they are incredibly concerned about what is going to happen to iraq should the assad regime fall. they are very worried about violence significantly spilling over there. they are very worried and this is a realistic likelihood that the sectarian violence could erupt once more. wolf? >> we're going to be talking about this in the coming days. this is a heartbreaking story. ten years ago there was such great expectation. the u.s. went in with hundreds and thousands of troops, lost 4500 u.s. men and women, tens of thousands came home severely injured, posttraumatic disorder. a trillion dollar of u.s. taxpayer money spent. what evolved from this is a disaster unfolding. we haven't really paid a lot of attention to it since the u.s. pulled out all of its military forces but it's a real disaster unfolding and arwa will be
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joining us. thanks very much for that report. coming up, it's the "tie tan nick" as you've never seen it before. a very different story right here in "the situation room." t? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. now that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health. okay why? more is better than less because if stuff is not le-- if there is more less stuff then you might want to have some more and your parents just don't let you because there's only a little bit. right. we want more, we want more. like you really like it, you want more.
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a huge day on wall street today. lisa sylvester is monitoring that and some of the stories in "the situation room." what happened? >> we always like a bit of good news. the dow rallied on the heels of more upbeat housing data and a second day of hopeful testimony from the federal reserve chairman. stocks overall have been pulling back a bit lately after a strong
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start to the year. all three indexes remain up between 6 and 7%. chuck hagel has taken over at the pentagon as defense secretary. the former gop senator vowed to be honest and direct. senate republicans, who slammed him for his opposition to the 2007 iraq troop surge, initially filibustered his nomination. that ended yesterday and he was confirmed. and two humans may soon get a chance to take a never attempted before journey to mars. plans have been announced for a project to send a couple on a 501-day trip to the planet. and nasa is not being asked to fund this trip. that certainly seems to be a direction where we see private
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space travels. >> 501 days. that's a long way to be away. are we almost there yet? >> you have said you would never do that. >> no. >> that's not on your bucket list? >> no. thanks very much. a very his store rim moment today for the civil rights leader rosa parks statue unveiled up on capitol hill. when we come back, my emotional interview with someone who knew her quite well, the reverend jesse jackson. he's opening up about that and more. that's next. should be for cookies, not your investment strategy. if you believe in the sheer brilliance of a simple explanation. [ male announcer ] join the nearly 7 million investors who think like you do: face time and think time make a difference. join us. [ male announcer ] at edward jones, it's how we make sense of investing.
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from the back of the bus in the 1950s to a permanent spot on capitol hill, democrats and republicans alike joined together to join rosa parks as her statue was unveiled up in the congress.
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it was an extraordinary moment in the history of the civil rights movement. and the reverend jesse jackson sr. is joining us here in the situation room. pretty emotional day, especially for you up on capitol hill, the rosa parks statuary hall. >> i knew her. her role as a singular figure in american history. i think -- and i was impressed with the make-up of the statue. a little family touch to it. but the seamstress with her head down, she was a freedom fighter. and she passed it all three times. she got it in 1955.
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she admit the challenge of going to jail and the supreme court challenge wll it was valid or not. we were in the lawsuit of owe 56 validating the supreme court decision. she really was a go-getter, audacious freedom fighter. >> a lot of people don't know that it was your son, jesse jackson jr., as a united states congressman who introduced the legislation to create this. we have a picture. there he is. he's standing right behind president bush. he signed that legislation into law. >> that was a very proud moment. he was able to get both the rosa parks, a standing statue with her facing jefferson davis, the head of the confederacy. behind her were confederates. and also to get the new visitor's hall named
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emancipation hall. >> how sad are you, as a result of what has happened, he's pleading guilty now. he's about to go to jail. >> well, that could be the case. it's zero to five. it's a sad chapter. perhaps not the last chapter. he has been quite contrite, his responsibility did not lean on his sickness, his bipolar disorder. he's faced the consequences of his decision and i think he's standing up with dignity, fighting these odds. i love him so much and still very proud of him yet. >> you're still very proud of him? because i'm going to play a clip. this is the u.s. attorney who prosecuted him. as you know, your son let a lot of people down. >> those contributors were people of modest means, senior citizens on fixed income, auto workers, teachers, plumbers.
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they donated their hard-earned money so he could somehow better their lives. he betrayed their trust. he spent their money that was designed or intended to be used to further his elections on items of excess. >> you hear that powerful sound bite. >> yes. he said he let them down. that was his con trigs to it. i don't feel any need to try to counter the argument because that's in the legal domain. that would be a hearing sentencing june 24th. i'm his father. once i got into -- he's still battling with bipolar disorder. he's spending time on his medical regimen and even as he comes unto himself, he is still serving. i think he will achieve beyond
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this moment and i still embrace him very much. >> so you think he has a chapter 2? >> yes. he's 47 years old. he's got more work to do. >> is it because of the bipolar disease that he went down like this? >> you know, i do not know. i'm reluctant to put forth an argument but this case now goes to the judge. and the federal judge must make a determination. i say do or right, that will have an impact. people are writing letters all over the nation from things that he has done for them. a woman came up to me a few days ago, she wrote, thank you, congressman jackson, you helped save my house. thank you. someone else said, i was in florida heights and we could not wash our clothes in that water. you got us a water tank. thank you. these kind of letters, of course, have an impact on the
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character can of jesse jackson as it unfolds. so i'll let that unfold. i'll just be his loving father. >> it's up to one judge if he goes to jail and how long le spend in jail. >> the judge will have to weigh what the prosecutor's argument is and what jesse lawyer's argue is and will make a decision. it's not for me at this point to weigh in with an opinion. >> what about your daughter-in-law? >> wolf, likewise, this is a family. they both pled guilty with a sen sense of sorrow but they will keep searching the people and i appreciate that about the both of them. >> on this day, the united states supreme court has also been hearing arguments that could bow tensionally overturn the enforcement provision of the voting rights act. i know how involved you and dr. martin luther king were in helping set the stage for the civil rights statement. what do you think? >> people like mr. boehner and
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mcconnell and others at the capitol hill capitol and they are arguing to remove the enforcement mechanism of the voting rights act it's not enough to have a right to vote. you must have the enforced right to vote. we got the vote to right in 1965 and then gerrymandering and on the mind of the impact of their vote. it's not just among minority votes. blacks could not vote in the south but white women couldn't serve on juries. 18-year-olds serving in vietnam could not vote. on campus they could vote if they went home with an absentee. even bilingual. it took us 30 years to demock kra advertise democracy. we saw this last year, can't
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vote on sunday, have are to have birth certificates. i think that evidence that we need enforcement was overwhelming today. >> the other issue i want to raise with you, the violence that's going on, the killing, the slaughter in chicago, your hometown right now. a lot more americans have been killed in chicago this past year than were killed in afghanistan. >> well, to be sure, there are no gun shops in chicago. the guns are made in suburbs and in rock island and so we have more capacity to stop the gun -- if you were in iraq, when they were sold from -- you would stop their trail. we can't stop the flow of guns coming in. >> you have confidence in the mayor, rahm emanuel snl. >> he cannot stop drugs coming in, cannot stop banks and drive-buy shootings. so when the president comes to town and says, let's stop the killing, let's stop the gun
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laws, that they thereforeare shot because unless you look at it comprehensively, this is a several ledge to this is guns, drugs, and jobs, unemployment that equals the need for some kind of plan for economic be reconstruction. we need an economic be reconstruction. it's beginning to lift people out of the pain of recycling their fears. >> reverend jackson, an emotional day for you here in washington. thank you for coming in. >> thank you, sir. coming up, detroit on the brink. will this desperately troubled city actually go bust or find a way to turn things around. fighting for life and glor row. foorz washington.
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thank you for coming in. >> thank you, sir. coming up, detroit on the brink. will this desperately troubled city actually go bust or find a way to turn things around.
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. once the symbol of america's bustling economy, the motor city has stalled losing half its population and falling to 18th place and now detroit is in even bigger trouble, may even go bankrupt. last week we told you a special review team found the city in a financial emergency with no real plan to fix it. now it's up to michigan's governor to take what could be some very drastic measures to try to save detroit. here's cnn's poppy harlow. >> reporter: wolf, this is a crisis that has been decades in the making. the rapid population decline in detroit means far fewer people paying taxes and, of course, there's the down fall of the auto industry. the auto sector got bailed out.
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that bailout didn't help fix the severe financial crisis in the motor city. >> just two years ago forbes called detroit the city of hope. it topped the 12 most cities in america. >> you call the police now, you wonder if they are coming. >> reporter: it's a tale of two detroits, a city on the hook for $14 billion and pensions for health care retired workers. >> most of us are facing costs that they can't afford. they were cut in the good old days when the tax revenues were up. we didn't have overseas competition. we could sell all of the cars we could make that day is gone. >> reporter: and get this the detroit news reports that more than half of property owners have not paid their taxes.
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there have been layoffs but it's not enough. any day the michigan's governor could have sweeping powers. >> he or she could fire everybody, quite frankly. >> reporter: joe harris was detroit's auditor for ten years. >> an emergency manager has a right to throw out or rewrite union contractors a. wouldn't we feel this? >> it doesn't simply affect the average person. it affects the government workers and -- >> reporter: union workers? >> union workers. >> reporter: those are real people. >> like this mother of eight and government worker. she fears losing her job if more cuts come but knows something has to change. >> at what point does someone do something that is going to make a difference? it doesn't matter if it's the emergency manager or god.
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>> reporter: the rescue could come from the private sector. >> it would be the biggest turn around story in our history. >> reporter: you think so? >> absolutely. >> reporter: josh's company has invested $15 million in tax startups here and he's part of a group that recently bought 15 entire buildings downtown? >> we're the underdog fighting for life and glory. >> reporter: there is debt that would cost the city in millions of fees and the stigma -- >> i don't like the "b" word. >> reporter: or what about a bailout like new york city got. but that was then. >> i think it's pretty radical. >> i believe if anybody needed to be bailed out, it would be the city of detroit. >> reporter: but good luck getting a federal bailout
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through congress in this political environment. as for a bankruptcy, if that happens, it would be the single larger municipal bankruptcy in u.s. history. >> what a story that is. poppy harlow, thank you. if you loved the hit movie or any of the books, you can soon get your own chance to experience life on the "titanic" firsthand. we'll explain. that's just ahead. lost a littl. so i switched to purina cat chow healthy weight formula. i just fed the recommended amount... and they both loved the taste. after a few months max's "special powers" returned... and i got my hero back. purina cat chow healthy weight.
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if the books and the hit movie weren't enough to pique your interest in the "titanic," maybe your own firsthand trip back in time will. cnn's tory dunham is joining us now with details on the new "titanic" 2. what's going on, tory? >> reporter: wolf, there are already these "titanic" memorials in place, but now
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there are plans for another "titanic" to set sail in 2016. hollywood has cashed in on it. >> i'm king of the world! >> reporter: but the history of the "titanic" speaks for itself. the luxury, the size, and the disaster. what was dubbed as unsinkable sunk. now a new "titanic" will sail again. >> we'll have radar, we'll have satellite navigation, and we'll have air-conditioning for everybody. but, of course, we'll utilize the designs and you'll have the same "titanic" experience you would have had in 1912. >> reporter: australian mining tycoon clive palmer unveiled plans for "titanic" 2. the route, the menus, and the fashion will be the same. the great granddaughter of the famed unsinkable molly brown, a "titanic" survivor, sees this as
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a great tribute. >> there you have guggenheim and jj astor standing back and guggenheim saying, in the smoking room, we are dressed as, you know, in our finest and we will go down as gentleman. that way of thinking is gone. and i think that's one of the things that this is going to bring back, is -- and maybe just for five days. >> reporter: the vessel sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. more than 1,500 people died because there weren't enough lifeboats. the looks will be mostly the same. the four smokestacks, the grand staircase, and turkish baths. but there are differences. engines powered by diesel instead of coal, a helicopter pad, and a higher bridge to see over the bow. and of course, enough lifeboats for everybody. just don't call it unsinkable. >> anything will sink if you put a hole in it, you know? i think it would be very cavalier to say something like that.
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>> reporter: the superstitious may second-guess "titanic" ii, but history buffs may see this as a chance to sail back in time. and, wolf, the company says that thousands of people have actually expressed interests in wanting to purchase some of these tickets. some even offering to pay, if you can believe it, $1 million. but wolf, so far the company says they have not set those prices just yet. >> still got some time. can't believe anybody would spend $1 million for that, but if you've got $1 million and you want to do it, go ahead. tory, thanks very much. just ahead, shock and horror at a popular beach after a deadly great white shark attack on a swimmer. we're going to hear from a witness. to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? and with all the points i've been earning, i was able to get us a flight to our favorite climbing spot even on a holiday weekend. ♪ things are definitely looking up.
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for services that simplify how work gets done. which is...pretty much what we've always stood for. with xerox, you're ready for real business. shaq 1, pain 0. [ male announcer ] new icy hot advanced patch with 50% more medicine. pain over. shock and horror on a popular new zealand beach today as a massive great white shark attacked and killed a swimmer offshore. witnesses say they saw the man call for help before being dragged under by the shark. >> the shark was still checking h him, and then the shark stopped attacking, and he pulled his head out, yelled over to the rock and he raised his hand up.
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while he was raised his hand up, the next minute, he went down. the shark pulled him down. we came up with his head underwater, and the shark had him. the first thing you see in real life. you know, you see in tv, you see in movies, like "jaws" and that, but, happening in real life, man, man, it's so shocking. >> authorities fired at the shark, which rolled over and disappeared. the beach and several others in the auckland area have been closed now for the next few days as well. happening now, the president's surprise huddle with budget cuts looming and the clock running out. the journalist bob woodward on the budget face-off and his controversial claim that the president is moving the goalpost. a landmark u.s. supreme court case. african-american leaders argue that voting rights still need protection, on the same day that a civil rights icon is honored.
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rosa parks' legacy, that's ahead. and trouble brewing. budweiser fights allegations that its beers are watered down. i'm wolf blitzer along with kate balduan, you're in "the situation room." >> hope lies eternal. >> hope springs eternal. >> hope springs eternal. >> hope springs eternal. >> maybe not. don't let all that hope talk fool you. the fight over forced budget cuts is going down to the wire. the president and the congressional leaders, they are finally agreeing to sit down and talk, but not until friday. that's the day the cuts go into effect. and a lot of people are asking, what is going on? what are we all waiting for? let's bring in our chief
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congressional correspondent, dana bash. i don't know if she has any answers, but what are we waiting for, dana? >> if i had the answers, i wouldn't be here right now. but, look, what was very interesting about what happened today is that the president and leaders in both parties were kind of forced together in the same area, as they waited for an event on capitol hill. and they had what the senate majority leader, harry reid, described to me as a brief huddle. now, our jake tapper was told the president told leaders in both parties to be prepared to come to the white house on friday, ready to talk solutions. that certainly would be a change. >> reporter: the president, republican, and democratic leaders coming together to unveil a statue of civil rights icon, rosa parks, all pulling in the same direction. their partisan tug-of-war, temporarily on hold. >> mr. president, you honor us with your presence. thank you for being here. >> reporter: but this bipartisan moment was just that, a moment. here's the senate leaders going at it just 45 minutes earlier.
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>> he wasn't elected to work with the congress he wants, he was elected to work with the congress he has. >> republicans are too busy fighting among themselves to unite behind a course of action, so they're instead doing nothing. zero. >> reporter: the president did ask congressional leaders to the white house to discuss forced spending cuts for their first face-to-face meeting about averting cuts the democrats call devastating. but the invitation is for friday, the same day those cuts kick in. democrats came to the president's defense. why wait so long? >> well, look, it is entirely within the purview of congress to pass legislation and send it to the president. so, actually, the real question is, is why isn't john boehner reaching out to harry reid, sitting down with nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell and hammering out a compromise? >> reporter: but house gop leadership aides wasted no time
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on hitting the white house for waiting for the last minute. one asking why the president scheduled a meeting friday, "when the sequester hits at midnight on thursday? either someone needs to buy the white house a calendar or this is just a belated farce. they ought to at least pretend to try." that led to some confusion and a bizarre back and forth, not about how to stop the cuts, but about when the cuts take effect. >> the sequester believes, i believe, midnight on the first of march. well, actually, it happens before, because it happens moon midnight. >> what do you mean -- >> no, it begins midnight march 1st. >> reporter: that prompted this tweet from the speaker's spokesman. "white house waits until sequester arrives to call meeting, ten months after house called a plan. then args whether cuts start in morning or at night." here's the real deal, the president does have until 11:59 p.m. the end of the day friday to sign an order for the forced cuts, so it turns out everyone agrees on the timing, but the fact that they fought about it
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speaks volumes. meanwhile, preparations for the cuts are already underway in congress. the house speaker announced that they would no longer be allowed in congress to use military aircraft for fact-finding trips that lawmakers frequently take. the last thing john boehner wants is criticism by his members or of his members that they're taking junkets when their constituents are feeling pain. but there may be something else here that the speaker made this announcement and that is, remember, the president has a military aircraft, that's called air force one. he used it yesterday to go down to virginia and primarily whack the republicans on the spending cuts. >> so what you're saying is, if a member of congress is going to go on a fact-finding trip to afghanistan, for example, they have to fly commercially, then? >> yes, or not go. that's the answer. they're not outlawing these so-called codells, but saying if you're going to go, you can't use military -- >> that's going to be a lot less of those codels, though congressional delegations, if they can't fly on those jets. >> until they get a done. >> dana, thank you. kate, you've got more of
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what's going on at the supreme court. >> civil rights leaders are outraged at what they heard at the high courts today, about whether to uphold the voting rights act, a key part of the voting rights act of 1969. joe johns was inside the court for a key part of the arguments. joe, how did it go? >> the arguments were almost combative at times. a debate over the heart of the vote rights act, which was every bit as much about politics, history, and race as it was about the law. while supporters of the voting rights act rallied outside, conservatives on the court were picking the law apart, led by justice antonin scalia. he produced audible gasps when he suggested that the law's repeated renewal since 1965 might be the perpetuation of racial entitlement. he called it not the kind of question you can lead to congress. scalia's turn of phrase galled civil rights advocates.
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>> is it a racial entitlement? >> it is a racial entitlement, it is an american entitlement, it is a birth wright right to c right to vote. >> reporter: they're voting about a power some see as a violation of state's rights. >> if it wasn't a direct infringement on the sovereign states, that might be an argument. but here, we're in a very different situation. >> reporter: conservatives on the court also asked why the law allows the federal government to treat states in the south differently from the rest of the country. chief justice john roberts asked the obama administration, is the government submission that the citizens in the south are more racist than the citizens in the north? liberals pushed back. justice sonia sotomayor asking the lawyer for shelby county, alabama, which brought the case, why the court might rule in favor of a county whose record is the epitome of what caused the passage of this law to start with? the county argues, things have changed in the south.
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>> we've made great strides over the years. we have minority participation at record levels. we have minority candidates elected by 90% white populations. >> reporter: many at the proceeding were already bracing for the very real possibility that part of the law could be ruled unconstitutional. >> we stand challenge in this court, to do the right thing. i hope it us the right -- but if it does not, we will not go back. we've come too far, marched too much, bled too profusely. we will not go back. >> reporter: underscoring the stakes among the civil rights leaders out there today, congressman john lewis, who was beaten in selma, alabama, in 1965, in a march for voting rights. kate? >> and as usual, clarence thomas, joe, he did not speak in court, right? >> no, he did not utter a word. however, he is on record as saying that he believes that section v, which we're talking about, of the voting rights act, s is unconstitutional. >> another big case before the
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high court. we'll be watching it closely. now to a very emotional senate hearing on gun violence, with photos of newtown massacre victims as a backtop. there was a good deal of discussion about strengthening background checks for gun buyers now that an assault weapons ban seems unlikely to pass. and it got really heated between senator lindsey graham and a milwaukee police chief. >> there's such an important issue, why aren't we prosecuting people who fail a background check and there are 15 questions there, they're not hard to understand, if you're filling out the form. so i'm a bit frustrated that we'd say one thing, how important it is, but in the real world, we absolutely do nothing to enforce the laws on the books. now, let's talk -- >> you know, just for the record, from my point of view, senator, the purpose of the background check -- >> how many cases have you made -- >> no, it doesn't matter. it's a paper -- i want to stop 76 -- i want to finish the answer. >> no, i'm asking -- >> i want to stop 76,000 people
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from buying guns illegally. that's what a background check does. if you think we're going to do paperwork prosecutions, you're wrong. >> how many -- [ applause ] >> all right, how many cases -- >> senator, if you would withhold just for a moment. >> yeah, that's fine. >> please, no expressions one way or another. and let's keep this civil. >> ahead, another flashpoint in the gun debate, a republican is accusing some obama supporters of being fakes. a lot more on that ahead. there aren't many human beings on the planet who can draw a crowd like this. tens of thousands of people packed st. peter's square in rome today for a final glimpse of benedict xvi while he's still pope. he steps down less than 24 hours from now. cnn's becky anderson is on the scene. >> reporter: just making my way up to st. peter's square. i can already see, there's enormous crowd up here. i would sea at least 100,000, if
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not more. this is the pope's last general audience, and just behind me here, they've got a road, some kcordoned off all the way aroun st. peter's square, and these crowds here are waiting to see the pope, pope benedict xvi, come past in his popemobile. it's really the most extraordinary atmosphere. it's an absolutely beautiful day and there are flags from all over the world. you can see a mexican flag there with the vatican flag. there's a chinese flag, i can see a ukrainian flag right there in the crowd. and a really peaceful atmosphere. >> we came from mexico for today. >> reporter: and how does it feel to be here today? >> amazing. really. >> it is amazing. >> very gorgeous experience, really. >> it never is in your lifetime that a pope resigns. i think only once, so -- >> reporter: 600 years ago. >> yeah. >> reporter: as the pope makes his way around st. peter's
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square in the popemobile, you can only imagine what's going through his mind. he looks frail, he looks tired. this is an 85-year-old man who has decided to stand down, and this is his last 24 hours as pope benedict xvi. he'll continued to be called his holiness. >> this is a decision i've made after much prayer and a deep love of christ's church. i will continue to accompany the church with my prayers and ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope. >> i'm very happy to be here, to depress my love for pope benedict xvi, but at the same time, i'm very sad that he's leaving. >> this is really unrepeatable location. >> reporter: and with the pope back in the popemobile and
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leaving st. peter's square, i think it's fair to say that this has been a day of quiet reflection for so many of the people gathered here in the crowd. a sense of pensiveness this day. becky anderson, cnn, vatican city. the united states senate has just confirmed that jack lew will be the next secretary of the treasury. the vote, 71 in favor of his confirmation, 26 against jack lew, the former white house chief of staff. the former budget director in the obama administration, as well as in the clinton administration, also worked for secretary of state, hillary clinton, in the state department. he will now be the next treasury secretary, seceding timothy geithner. yesterday, chuck hagel was confirmed as the defense secretary. now they're waiting for john brennan to be confirmed as the next cia director. but jack lew, he has been
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confirmed, he is the next treasury secretary. coming up, a cnn reality check of republican congressman's claim, he's accusing the obama camp of shady business on twitter. keeping outo your operations? it's not working! yes it is. welcome to tyco integrated security. with world-class monitoring centers and thousands of qualified technicians. we've got a personal passion to help your business run safer, smarter, and sharper. we are tyco integrated security. and we are sharper. [ male announcer ] we began with the rx. ♪ then we turned the page, creating the rx hybrid. ♪ now we've turned the page again with the rx f sport. ♪ this is the next chapter for the rx
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in hard to reach areas. oral-b deep sweep 5000 power brush. life opens up when you do. all right. check out all these tweets urging congress to vote on gun control. a lot of tweets. >> there sure are a lot of them. but one republican congressman claims that some of these tweets are fake, and he's blaming supporters of president obama. our lisa sylvester has been looking into this. so lisa, what are you finding out about all of this? >> this is really interesting. but first, we want to set this up. the question is, is this something called astroturf, a fake grassroots movement that's made to look like you have a lot of concerned citizens weighs in when in fact you don't this and this is a story that's been blowing up online, but we went to see what was actually real and what was fake and we found some interesting things along the way. take a look. it's a claim that got picked up quickly by several blogs and
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news organizations. representative steve stockman's accusations that obama supporters are sending out fake tweets to pressure lawmakers on the gun control issue. the congressman from texas put out this news release, claiming his office and others were receiving messages, not from real people, but from accounts manufactured by obama supporters. we caught up with him on capitol hill. >> we're calling for more information so we can find out exactly who send the fake tweets out and why they're sending them out, and exactly what they're agenda is. and we open to expose on that, and i'm sure we will, get to the bottom of it. >> we wanted to get to the bottom of it too, were the tweets real or fake? donny ferguson walked us through why they asserted that these are fake twitter accounts and not from real human beings. the first red flag, he said, was the egg avatar, the standard image for brand-new accounts where someone hasn't yet uploaded a picture of themselves. >> this is one of the supposed people who contacted us.
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as you can see, this is the only thing she's ever said. >> that's the only tweet she's ever had. one tweet? >> yes. >> and her one follower is the president's digital strategist. which i find it unusual that he took the time -- he follows 27,000 people, but he took the time to find her. >> reporter: we went digging, while we tracked down that very person, vera awash. she's not a spam bottom, but a very real person. we weren't her first phone call on this either. >> as you can see, i'm real. that's why i decided to tweet my congressman. i don't do tweets. that was the first one i did. i've never done tweets before. >> reporter: how did we get to this point? organizing for action is a newly formed obama advocacy group. it sent out this letter asking their members to tweet their member of congress. to make it really easy, there's this big button, tweet now, with the same generic message. new users are directed how to sign up for twitter.
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among them, vera awah. >> they're absolutely real accounts. >> reporter: those egg avatars with identical messages are from accounts either newly formed or accounts set up a while ago or only now active. >> there were 2 million volunteers across the active, organizing on blaf of the president's re-election. many of those same supporters and many new people got involved in order to speak out against gun violence. >> reporter: we reached back out to representative stockman's office to get their response. they told us, "we are always happy to hear from real constituents." but they're still requesting documents from the white house and organizing for action on the anti-gun campaign. but one digital expert says, it's perfectly clear what's going on here. these are people fairly new to twitter. and on stockman's claims -- >> to call it a tempest in a teapot would be to overdignify it. >> and the obama digital strategist, you know, the one that was one of the red flags for congressman stockman's office. it turns out he actually follows
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27,000 people on both sides of the gun debate. he's following many, many people, who have tweeted using the gun control #wedemandavote, including vera awah, who is a real person, who i sperpersonal spoke to. we also tracked down another woman, an 81-year-old woman living in texas, and her daughter helped her set up a twitter account so she could specifically tweet her congressman on this very issue. so a very real tweet and a very real person. so by all accounts, these are very real tweets. >> i love 81-year-old who is tweet. >> some of your favorite followers. >> and that's one of the things that the obama camp are saying, they are bringing a lot of new people to twitter who had never been involved in social media. so, of course, this is a brand-new account. it's a new way to reach out to your politicians. and it happens all the time. you both are very well familiar with this. i mean it, used to be the e-mail campaign, where it's like, e-mail your congressman and there's a form letter of some sort. well, that's what they say they're doing right now, except they're doing it with twitter. it's the wave of the future. that's the direction we're
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moving in. >> glad you checked it out. lisa, thanks so much. still ahead, a legendary journalist who took on the nixon white house gets into a fight now with the obama administration over the forced spending cuts. we'll be talk to bob woodward of "the washington post," coming up. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all? it's lots of things. all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away.
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there's a new horror in afghanistan, kate's got that and some of the day's other top stories. >> unfortunately, more sad news in afghanistan, wolf. the taliban are taking credit for an attack on a police outpost in the eastern part of the country. gunman broke in during the night and killed 17 people, shooting them as they slept. ten officers are among the dead. the rest are friends and relatives, who happen to be spending the night in what they thought was a safe place.
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and now to some business news and a big day on wall street. the dow jones industrials closed at a five-year high and a little under 90 points short of their all-time high. this was the second day of a big rally, sparked by good news from the housing market and upbeat talk from federal reserve chairman, ben bernanke. and the classical music world is mourning today the death of a pianist whose playing brought communist and capitalists together. vann clyburn, a texan, was only 23 years old when he won an international competition in moscow back in 1958 during the height of the cold war. he's considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. he developed bone cancer and died today in texas. he was 78 years old. but had a lot of people talking about when he became a star today. >> great talent, indeed. up next, the veteran journalist bob woodward, he's standing by to join us live to respond to the obama administration's charge that he's wrong with his facts about
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we've been hearing dire warnings from members of the obama administration for days now about the impact of those forced budget cuts that take effect friday. now it seems at least one cabinet member may have been exaggerating. cnn's tom foreman has this story for us. what's going on, tom? >> hey, wolf. as you said, we've heard these dire warnings over and over again about what's been happening. and what we heard today was about teachers and students across the country, how right now, due to the threat of forced spending cuts, they may be losing their jobs, these teachers. but there's precious little evidence to back those claims. secretary arne duncan, like other officers, have been out dutifully ringing the alarm bell about all the bad things the budget cuts might mean. but he's gone even further, suggesting the cuts are already putting teachers out of work. listen to him on cbs' "face the nation," talking about these layoffs.
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>> how soon could that happen? 40,000? i've read differing accounts. it could be immediate, it could be until the fall. is there a sky is falling aspect to any of the things you're talking about? >> some of this stuff happens earlier, some of this stuff happens this fall, but what it does, it creates tremendous instability. and there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall. >> so he's right about the sequester, and he says, literally, right now it's happening. at the white house briefing today, he threw out a whopping number, saying the schools could lay off as many as 40,000 people. but when he was pressed to explain where anything like this is actually happening now, he came up with only one place. listen. >> there's a district where it's happened, because they have an earlier union notification than most. so cannawa county, west virginia, but the vast majority will be rolling out over the next few months. these are teachers who can
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getting pink slips now in cannwa county in west virginia. that's not true, according to the "washington post." who spoke to the district earlier. the school district told the post, yes, 100 teachers have been told they may be transferred next fall, but it's not connected to sequester, and nor does it mean those teachers are losing their job. and we just spoke to diane young, and she also said what the secretary said is not on point. it's not really clear nor is it accurate. what she said is they're waiting on word from the federal authorities about head start money, which may or may not be part of this whole equation, and they haven't heard from the federal government, so they may, in fact, have to get rid of some teachers, simply because they're not hearing from the federal government about a routine matter, routine financing for their district, so they have to plan and that's the only thing they can do right now. we'll have to find out more from that district and others about when, how, and if these forced budget cuts are going to effect
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them. but the indication right now is from the department of education, that they don't really seem to know, or at least they haven't been able to point out a clear, clear example of what the secretary was claiming today. wolf? >> tom, thanks very much for that explanation. in these battles that are underway, over the forced budget cuts, some conservatives are cheering on a one-time hero of the left, who's become a thorn in the side of the obama white house right now. >> especially at this moment. we're talking about journalist bob woodward, the legendary investigative reporter, who exposed watergate, "the washington post" associate editor wrote a controversial op-ed last week. he essentially blamed the white house for the automatic cuts we've been talking so much about, and criticized the president's handling of negotiations with republicans. it's gotten a lot of attention and it's got a lot of people fired up, especially about this part. woodward wrote this, in part, "the final deal reached between vice president biden and senate minority leader mitch mcconnell in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax
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increases in the sequester." these forced budget cuts. woodward went on to write this, "so when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goalposts." >> that line about moving the goalposts has been hotly disputed bay number of journalists, also by the obama white house. listen to this. >> the fact of the matter is, republicans, as well as democrats, have talked about, from the beginning, the need to replace the sequester with a package of deficit reduction measures that include increasing revenues. so it's just not the case, that it was anything different at the time. >> we're joined now by "the washington post" associate editor, bob woodward. bob, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> i want to walk through, explain your side of the story. jay carney also tweeted, by the way, he said, super committee's mandate was not to replace sequester with spending cuts alone. to suggest otherwise is willfully wrong. so they're strongly disputing what you wrote the other day in
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"the washington post". >> but it turns out is that other reporters know and officials involved in this, and people in congress, that the white house was on the sidelines in the negotiations of the supercommittee itself. and they've mixed this up in some strange way. and i'm not sure why they're confused. no one was talking about a sequester replacement, as you know, the law specifically said, the super committee will come up with tax cuts, in other words, additional revenue and spending cuts to get about $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. if they fail, and all of the leaders in congress expected them to succeed, if they fail, then the sequester of simply spending cuts would go into effect. but this deal, that biden and mcconnell made, was very important to president obama, in 2011, because he was afraid he
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was going to be handed a two-step debt ceiling increase. not just one. and he insisted on one, and that's what he got. >> i just want to be precise. when you say that if the sequester were to go into effect, if they could come up with an alternative to sequester, there couldn't be increased tax revenues as part of that alternative? >> no, no. it's written in law, in the sequester, itself. it's only spending cuts. >> no, it's not. let me be precise. here's what the law says. unless a joint committee bill achieving an amount greater than $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction -- >> that's the committee. that's the supercommittee. that's my point. that's what they were assigned to do, that's what -- >> the deficit reduction could either be ta revenue or it could be spending cuts. >> absolutely. and this is kind of -- i hope it's not a smoke screen, i hope it's just a misunderstanding, where the white house says, oh, this was a sequester replacement. it wasn't. i spent two months, wolf,
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interviewing, getting all of the documents, talking to the people who were involved in this, and it was deficit reduction for the super committee, if they failed, then only spending cuts. that was the deal the president makes. when you make a deal and get an immediate benefit -- >> so you're standing by that they're moving the goalposts? >> it's obvious. i mean, the editorial page of "the washington post," who i wrote this piece for, said it's just irrefutable. when you make a deal and you say, i'm going to do and i get my part and the other people don't, you're moving the goalposts. now, you're entitled to do that, people move the goalposts all the time. presidents and people in congress, fine. >> let me ask you about the goalpost aspect of this. you wrote the book, really, about the debt ceiling debacle with and kind of the fallout thereafter. but why did you write this piece? i mean, you must have been sure
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it was going to make waves. i mean, it's really become ammo for republicans in this sequester battle. was that your intention? >> no, of course not. i mean, you know, wolf's known this for decades. i'm in the middle, and trying to be empirical and find out what the facts are. but your question, why did i write this piece, because the president, in the third presidential debate, said, this was congress' idea. jack lew, who's now going to be treasury secretary, backed him up. and then, now the white house, because i kept asking about this, i think four or five days ago, said, oh, yes, it was our idea. they came up with it. now, it is playing with -- it is playing a dangerous game to set up a system like a sequester, where it's automatic. this is what we're debating and seeing right now. it came from the white house.
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it was an act. >> there was a precedence in the '80s. >> in the '80s -- >> what do you make of the white house's response to your article? >> i think they're confused. i think they've got this idea. i mean, they put out these long talking points and said, see, even woodward's book reports that speaker boehner said, let's get $600 billion over ten years in revenue in the super committee. that's exactly right. that's not the sequester. and they've said, they have, you know, i said, get somebody from the white house here, and we'll debate. >> we invited the white house to send someone here, to debate this issue with you, and they declined. >> why? why? because it's irrefutable, that's exactly what happened. i'm not saying this is a moving of the goalposts that was some criminal act or something like that, i'm just saying, that's -- >> it's getting pretty nasty. take us behind the scenes a little bit. the allegations being hurled
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against you right now. >> well -- >> you're used to this kind of stuff, but share with our viewers what's going on between you and the white house. >> well, they're not happy at all and some people kind of, you know, said, look, we don't see eye to eye on this. they never really said, though, afterwards, they've said that this is factually wrong, and they -- and it was said to me in an e-mail by a top -- >> what was said? >> it was said very clearly, you will regret doing this. >> who sent that e-mail to you? >> well, i'm not going to say. >> was it a senior person at the white house? >> a very senior person. and just as a matter -- i mean, it makes me very uncomfortable to have the white house telling reporters, you're going to regret doing something that you believe in, and even though we don't look at it that way, we do look at it that way. and it's, i think if barack obama knew that was part of the communicati
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communication's strategy, let's hope it's not a strategy, but it's a tactic that somebody's employed, and said, look, we don't go around trying to say to reporters, if you, in an honest way, present something we don't like, that, you know, you're going to regret this. and just -- it's mickey mouse. >> how do you think this is all going to end up, real quick? >> that's the question. that's exactly the right question. and hopefully they fix it. they should do something. there is an irrationality to this. just pull back for a second. you've got leon panetta, i guess he's still secretary of defense, isn't he? >> no, chuck hagel is. >> oh, hagel's been sworn in, okay. panetta, the essence of the democratic party, saying, these cuts are going to be a catastrophe. you've got, on the political right, somebody like bill kristol, editor of the we"weekl standard" saying exactly the same thing, that this is a danger to national security.
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so, they ought to fix it. if they don't fix it, i mean, the public is going to go, you know, find -- they're already -- >> i want -- we're going to talk about -- >> those of us who have known you for a long time, we know you're not going to be intimidated or threatened by any senior official at the white house. you've gone through a lot worse than this. but i want -- >> indeed. >> i want yo u to stick around. we've got some more to discuss, much more of our conversation with bob woodward right after this. [ whirring ] [ creaking ]
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all right. we're back with bob woodward of "the washington post." during the commercial break, by the way, you called the white house once again to see if someone would come on and discuss this with you, let alone debate this with you. they once again have declined.
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but you've been trying now for days to et up a debate with the white house. >> well, not a debate, but i just think, first of all, to their credit, they acknowledged that the idea of the sequester came from them. and senior officials, jack lew and rob nabors. this idea about moving the goalpost, look, everyone knows they want more tax increases and some sort of deal. that's not a surprise. when you make a deal with somebody, if i say i'm going to do something, and then you get the benefit and then you say to me, well, wait a minute, i'm changing, you're changing the goalposts, you're moving the goalposts, you're tearing down the goalposts. i'm not sure -- but you are changing the terms of the agreement. i mean, why don't they just say -- >> that line clearly has touched a nerve with folks at the white house. there's no question about that. but when you take a step back, as you have, kind of in writing your book, as well as kind of looking at this piece, is the
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less about moving the goalposts for both sides and more about both sides just trying to win this in the political sense? >> i guess so. i mean, there's got to be some explanation. i mean, you've done this for a long time too. it is baffling that they can't sit down and work out something that really would be sensible. you don't have -- it doesn't have to be cuts or tax increases or entitlement reform. now, the things they were talking about in the summer, i have all of the -- or a lot of the documentation, in the summer of 2011, it was stuff to begin in ten years on the entitlement reform. or five years. there is a way to work with this out and the question is, what's the impact in the business world, the average consumer, i mean, the stock market shooting up. >> in the meantime. >> clearly, american economy is poised on the edge of, we're going to really fix things.
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the government's got to do -- >> we've got to leave it. we'll continue this conversation. maybe somebody from the white house will come in tomorrow. you'll come back. and just to be precise. you believe, i just want to be precise, the white house says the president never would have agreed to deficit reduction, that simply included spending cuts. he always wanted tax revenues to come up >> but read the law. >> i just want to make sure, you're holding firm. >> they can't -- that's irrefutable. it's in the law. >> okay. >> bob woodward, thanks. nice to see you, bob. >> and he's not going to be intimidated by anybody. they was involved with watergate. >> thanks, bob. >> thanks very much. coming up, she made history on a bus more than 50 years ago and now rosa parks is making history once again right here in washington. that extraordinary bipartisan moment, that's next. anyone have occasional constipation,
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one of america's best-known beermakers is fighting a lawsuit from some drinkers. >> they charge anheuser-busch is watering down its beer. cnn's brian todd has been looking into this. what's going on, brian? >> kate and wolf, they say anheuser-busch has been doing this for about four years on these labels and they say they've been told about all of this by some people who worked at the company. anheuser-busch is pushing back hard and it's got a lot at stake. the so-called king of beers and its affiliated brands. they're clearly the king of the beer market, famous for their entertaining ads. >> a sure sign of a good time. >> reporter: anheuser-busch, brewer of budweiser, mic loeb, and so many other beers, sells nearly half the beer sold in america. and according to some lawsuits, it's ripping off customers.
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>> the lawsuits allege that anheuser-busch adds water to its beers, waters it down, and mislabels the stated alcohol content on the labels of the cans of beer of the beer they sell. >> reporter: robert mills represents dozen of customers suing anheuser-busch for more than $5 million. their complaint says the real alcohol content in budweiser, micholob and other beers is less than 5% on the bottles, and that's a real moneymaker. "by doing so, b is able to produce a significantly higher number of units of beer from the same starting batch of ingredients." they say taste isn't the issue. they say many beermakers place a premium on alcohol content and simply think it's important to get an accurate reading from the label. the attorneys bringing the lawsuit say their clients weren't available to speak to us on camera and could not give us physical proof of the watering down, but say the process is systemic and sophisticated. they say they found out about it from people who worked at anheuser-busch. >> people that calibrate the
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instruments, the people that were in charge in these breweries, of handling these issues, have told us, this is what's happening. >> reporter: mills says those people will testify, and says he'll get documents from the company. contacted by cnn, anheuser-busch rejected the allegations. in a statement saying, the claims against anheuser-busch are completely false and these lawsuits are groundless. our beers are in full compliance with all alcohol labeling laws. we proudly adhere to the highest standards in brewing our beers. i asked greg ingrid, who procures beers for several restaurants and bars in washington, about microbrewers's practices. >> large brew houses, it is somewhat commonplace to quote/unquote dilute the beer. but what they're doing, if you had a thousand barrels of beer, like 2,000 kegs' worth of brie, and brew that to 6 1/2 to 7% and cut it with some water before bottling, you could bring it down to somewhere between 4% and 5%. >> and that doesn't mean you're mislabeling it? >> not at all you get it down to the level you
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want, and you label it that way. >> ingrid says that practice enables the major brewers to make and sell more beer out of their original ingredients, gives the beer a cleaner taste, and it's not deceptive, as long as you label it accurately. i asked an anheuser-busch official if the company does engage in that practice and he said he couldn't comment beyond their written statement. >> i think this is not over quite yet. >> brian todd -- >> go have a beer. >> go have a beer. thank you so much. we'll be right back. only gaviscon® forms a protective barrier that helps block stomach acid from splashing up- relieving the pain quickly. try fast, long lasting gaviscon®. relieving the pain quickly. ♪
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